Did you know that your teenage child’s ability to make decisions has not fully developed until they reach 25 years of age? Their frontal cortex which is yet to form completely makes it difficult for them to make rational and disciplined decisions.
80% of brain formation hormones and emotional experiences drive your teenage children’s minds. With an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, teenagers are more sensitive to risky and impulsive behavior and are much likelier to give in to peer-pressure. This is when most kids blur the proverbial thin lines and take actions that may inadvertently play a huge role in shaping their adult lives.
So what should parents do? Here are some tips to help the parents align their expectations with that of their children without getting off on the wrong foot.
Patience is a Virtue When Dealing With Impulsive Teenagers
If you have a teenager at home then you need to learn some extra skills such as patience. Your child may seem exceptionally mature and bright, but they are still a far cry from understanding the risks and their consequences like an adult can. It is you as a parent who can make sure that your children are taking ownership of their actions, especially when their brain is not up to that task.
Teenagers are biologically more likely to give in to external influence and peer-pressure. Their understanding of responsible behavior is yet to form so the parents need to be especially careful when dealing with the teenagers.
Communication is a Two-Way Street
If you want your children to confidently approach you then you need to listen to them without judging or reprimanding them at the word go. Always allow your child to have an open communication with you and try not to be judgmental when offering advice or suggestions.
Parents may find this difficult to not have opinions when listening to the mistakes that your children are doing. However, it is imperative for the parents to understand that they are biologically wired to be impulsive and irrational at this age. They have an underdeveloped frontal cortex that makes them unable to rationalize and act maturely. Maturity is not just a psychological phenomenon but a lot of it has to do with biology as well.
Don’t be a stranger to your own Children
Given the trend today, it is not ‘cool’ to inquire so much about the lives of your children. While your kids will appreciate your non-interference, it can also mean that wrong behaviors right under your nose are influencing them while you gleefully choose to stay ignorant. The idea is to stay fully involved and know whom they’re communicating with.
It is ok for the parents to set healthy expectations and boundaries for the sake of their children. While it is your responsibility to help them distinguish between right and wrong, they also need to be trained to make that distinction.
You as a parent need to be a good listener and observe your child’s behavior to make sure that they are on the right track. You also need to understand the biological limitations of your child to comprehend non-verbal cues, which can lead to confusion and miscommunication. If you need to convey a message to your child, use the power of words and communicate clearly and gently.
Please take a moment to check out the infographic below, then let us know how YOU are improving communication with YOUR teens.
Guest post by Amy Kristine Williams.